The US House of Representatives on Wednesday voted to impeach US President Donald Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” Lawmakers supporting impeachment say Trump was responsible for inciting a mob of supporters that stormed the Capitol Building last week. The resolution to impeach passed by 232 to 197. Ten Republicans joined 222 Democrats in voting for impeachment. Trump is the first president in US history to be impeached twice. Democrats rushed forward to launch the impeachment vote with only seven days left in Trump’s term after Vice President Mike Pence rejected calls to remove Trump under the 25th amendment.
What happens now?
The article of impeachment will now head to the US Senate, still controlled by the Republican Party, which is set to conduct a trial on the charges. A two-thirds majority is needed to convict Trump on the charge. The Senate will not meet again until January 19 — one day before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, which all but ensures an impeachment trial will take place only after Trump leaves office. Trump is among the three US presidents who have been impeached, but he may become the first to be tried by the Senate after leaving office. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has ruled out holding an emergency session, which had been called for by Democrat Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Trump kept out of sight in a nearly empty White House as impeachment proceedings played out at the US Capitol. The president’s suspension from Twitter meant his usual preferred means of communication was unavailable. He was finally heard in a subdued video hours after the vote, condemning the Capitol insurrection and warning his supporters from engaging in any further violence. Trump said nothing about his impeachment in the video, although he did complain about the ban on his social media accounts.
Washington DC has been on high alert since the unrest in the Capitol Building on January 6. Authorities have said potentially violent protests are anticipated in Washington in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. The home-sharing platform Airbnb said Wednesday that it would be canceling all reservations in the Washington DC metro area during inauguration week and would stop any new bookings.
As lawmakers debated impeachment Wednesday, hundreds of armed national guard soldiers were stationed in the Capitol Building, with many camped out in the Rotunda, a large, domed room at the center of the Capitol. High fences were erected around the Capitol grounds, where the armed National Guard patrolled the perimeter. In a statement released during Wednesday’s debate, President Trump called for “no violence, no lawbreaking, and no vandalism.”
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